Autopilot: I loved it. A few hours in and one begins to learn a dance between looking out the window, looking at the display and using the stalk to manage speed. Once mastered, the pedals become largely unnecessary. It drives like a very good second year teenage license holder who really wants impress, and is getting better all the time.
It's definitely safer than a human driver alone, assuming you use it as intended. Without a doubt, it is the best ADAS system on the market. It’s incredible Level 2, but also a facsimile of Level 3 without sufficient advance warnings, which is where problems have risen. Ignore the warnings like a child and you will be disappointed, or worse. Heed the warnings like an adult, and it’s the best thing on the market.
“Never assume,” my father often said, “and always pay attention.”
Much like life.
The more you use Autopilot, the better it gets — literally — and the more you want to use it. Exploiting Autopilot’s capabilities is a delight in itself, as one returns to roads one knows only to find it has learned something new. In and around Ojai I observed it navigate the same road months apart, and the improvements weren’t subtle. It slowed to below the speed limit, and I trusted it, because the volume of Teslas in the area suggested Fleet Learning had taught it a lesson this New Yorker didn’t know, and didn’t want to learn the hard way.
Could it be improved? Of course. And it is improving, all the time. Autopilot 8 is allegedly a month or three away. Let’s hope it includes louder alerts, an even larger Situational Awareness Display, and geo-fencing.
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